I’m always in search of a new holiday sugar cookie recipe. Especially a delicate, tender sugar cookie that’s crispy around the edges and soft in the middle. This candy cane Amish sugar cookie recipe is one of my all-time favorites. These powdered sugar cookies made with oil and butter have a fine texture and just the right hint of peppermint flavor. They’re drop sugar cookies that don’t require rolling. Peppermint sugar cookies with peppermint icing, sprinkled with crushed candy canes – what could be more perfect for the holidays?
You might wonder why this recipe is called Amish sugar cookies. The original version of this recipe for drop sugar cookies comes from an Amish and Mennonite cookbook. Different versions of this recipe have been around for hundreds of years. Some are soft and some are crispy – these are in between. They remind me of Swig sugar cookies, if you’re familiar with that restaurant chain that sells baked treats and flavored sodas.
Assemble ingredients and equipment
To make your candy cane Amish sugar cookies, you need the following equipment:
- Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer
- Large bowl
- Cookie sheets (1 or 2)
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- 2-tablespoon cookie scoop
- Cooling rack
- Offset spatula
One secret to successful baking is to assemble all your ingredients and equipment ahead of time. That way you’ll be able to get the timing right and remember all the ingredients. If I try to get the ingredients out of the pantry one at a time, I always seem to forget something!
This recipe calls for softened unsalted butter. If you want to substitute salted butter, that also works. See the recipe notes for how to substitute salted butter for unsalted.
If you need to soften butter quickly, I’ve found this method using hot water in the microwave to be the most effective.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line one or two cookie sheets with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. If you decide to use only one cookie sheet, you can bake the cookies in two batches.
Mix the wet ingredients and sugar
Start your candy cane Amish sugar cookies by blending together softened butter, vegetable oil, sugar, and powdered sugar. You can use a stand mixer for this, with the cookie paddle, or you can use a hand-held electric mixer and a large mixing bowl.
After your butter, oil, sugar, and powdered sugar are well blended, add your eggs, vanilla, and peppermint, and blend thoroughly.
Bakery emulsions vs. extract
For this recipe, I like to use butter vanilla bakery emulsion and peppermint bakery emulsion. If you’re not familiar with bakery emulsion, it’s basically a different type of flavor extract. While typical flavor extracts are flavoring dissolved in alcohol, emulsion is based in water with an emulsifier.
Water is a more neutral carrier than alcohol (so it’s great for frosting or icing), and no alcohol also means that the flavor doesn’t burn off at high heat (so it’s great in baked goods). I buy it at my local gourmet kitchen supply store, and a few people have told me they’ve seen select flavors at their local grocery store. Of course every flavor is available on Amazon.
Of course, the old Amish sugar cookie recipe doesn’t call for bakery emulsion. You can absolutely use vanilla extract and peppermint extract instead. Extracts are easier to find in stores.
One of the reasons I like butter vanilla bakery emulsion for this recipe is that when I was recipe testing, my husband remarked that he thought the cookies should taste more buttery. Amish sugar cookies are made with half oil and half butter, which gives them their unique texture. Butter vanilla bakery emulsion boosts the butter flavor.
Combine the dry ingredients
After mixing the wet ingredients and sugar, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
Measure flour correctly
It’s important to measure your flour correctly, to get a cookie dough that is the right consistency. The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a food scale. A cup of flour should weigh 125 grams.
Estimates for the correct weight of a cup of flour range between 120 and 130 grams. I use a measurement of 125 grams, and for reference I usually use Gold Medal all purpose flour.
To measure flour accurately without a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level off with a knife. This useful article will help you understand how to measure flour:
Blend the batter
Add the dry ingredients, one cup at a time, to the wet ingredients. Blend to combine after each addition. Mix just until well combined and do not overmix.
Scoop and bake the cookies
Using a two-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the candy cane Amish sugar cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the bottom and edges. Mine were perfect after 10 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before putting on the icing.
Make the icing
Make the icing by blending together melted butter, whole milk, butter vanilla bakery emulsion, and peppermint bakery emulsion. You can use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for this, or a mixing bowl and a hand-held electric mixer.
Add your powdered sugar, one cup at a time, for a total of four cups. Blend after each addition.
The icing should be thin enough to spread easily, but not so thin that it runs off the sides of the cookie. Add more milk or more powdered sugar as needed to get the right consistency.
Garnish with crushed candy canes
Immediately after frosting each cookie, sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Freezing Amish sugar cookies
If you want to freeze your candy cane Amish sugar cookies to eat later, freeze them in a single layer. After they are frozen solid, you can stack them in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers. This method prevents the cookies from sticking together and ruining the icing.
I hope you enjoy this easy holiday sugar cookie recipe! The white color, candy cane sprinkles, and subtle peppermint flavor are perfect for Christmas.
Candy Cane Amish Sugar Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1/2 cup 1 stick or 110g unsalted butter, softened (see notes to substitute salted butter)
- 1/2 cup 125ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup 100g sugar
- 1/2 cup 60g powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon 5ml butter vanilla bakery emulsion (or substitute vanilla extract)
- 3/4 teaspoon 4 ml peppermint bakery emulsion (or substitute peppermint extract)
- 2 1/2 cups 315g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon 3g baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon 3g cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon 2g salt
For the icing:
- 2 tablespoons 28g unsalted butter, melted (see notes to substitute salted butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon 3 ml butter vanilla bakery emulsion (or substitute vanilla extract)
- 3/4 teaspoon 4ml peppermint bakery emulsion (or substitute peppermint extract)
- 3 tablespoons 45ml whole milk
- 2 1/4 cups 270g powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon 1g salt
For the garnish:
- Approximately 1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes or peppermint candy
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Make the cookie dough:
- Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer, beat together the butter, oil, sugar, and powdered sugar until well blended. Continue to mix while adding in the egg, vanilla bakery emulsion, and peppermint bakery emulsion.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, one cup at a time. Mix to combine after each addition.
- Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop 12 balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes, or until the bottoms and
edges of the cookies are browned slightly.
- Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Repeat the scooping and baking process to make 12 more cookies.
Make the icing:
- Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, or a hand-held electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, vanilla bakery emulsion, peppermint bakery emulsion, and milk.
- Add half the powdered sugar and mix to blend. Add the other half of the powdered sugar and blend again until smooth.
- Add a bit more milk or powdered sugar as needed to get a spreadable
consistency. The icing should be thin enough to seep into the cracks on the top of each cookie, but not so thin that it runs off the sides of the cookie.
- Using an offset spatula, frost each cookie. Immediately after frosting each cookie, sprinkle the top with finely crushed peppermint candy.
- Return to the wire rack for the icing to set.